Common-rose Finch

Common Rosefinch   Carpodacus erythrinus


  • Carpodacus : Greek word  karpos- fruit; dakos –biter  { Fruit eater/biter}
  • Erythrinus : Latin word erythro – red; Greek word eruthros- red

Vernacular Names:  Hindi: Tuti, Lal tuti, Surkhab tuti, Kash: Gulab tsar, Pun: Lal tooti, Ben: Gulabi tuti, Lal tuti, Cachar: Dao-gajaviaba, Lepcha: Phulin-pho, Naga: Ingerui, B’ desh: Chhota tuti, Nepal: Amonga tuti, Tibetan: Do-di-ma-mo, Guj: Gulabi, Gulabi thuthi, Te: Yedru-pichike, Yedru-jinowayi, Mal: Rosakkuruvi, Mar: Gorli

Distribution in India: Breeds in Himalayas and widespread winter visitor in India.

Description: Size of 14-15 cm. It is a medium-large Rosefinch with stubby or bulbous bill and notched tail. The male of nominate race in breeding has forehead to nape bright scarlet; lores dusky grey-brown, sometimes continuing behind eye as brownish eyestripe, cheek and ear-coverts brown or reddish-brown, washed brighter red; upperparts brown, edged paler, and washed bright red or reddish-pink, rump variably pinkish to deep red  or with brownish tips, uppertail-coverts brown, washed red; tail brown, feathers broadly edged paler or reddish-brown; upperwing dark brown, median coverts finely edged paler and tipped pale pink or pinkish-buff, tips of greater coverts more uniform brownish-pink and rarely paler, flight-feathers finely edged pale buff or buffish-brown and tinged pink to light reddish towards tips, tertials more broadly edged pale pink or pinkish-buff; chin and throat to upper breast variable, bright red or duller, and merging with red on face and side of throat; side of breast and belly buffish-white or washed reddish, flanks slightly browner and streaked or washed reddish, undertail-coverts whitish; iris dark brown or black; bill grey to dark grey-brown with yellowish-brown to pinkish base of lower mandible, or plain dull olive; legs brown or pinkish-brown. The non-breeding male in fresh plumage (winter) has crown dull red to reddish-pink, feathers sometimes with brown bases, and upperparts greyer, tips of wing-coverts warm buffish-brown, brightest pink to reddish-orange on side of throat to center of breast. Female lacks bright red, has head and upperparts light olive-brown, tinged grey, with fine blackish streaks on forehead and crown, face slightly paler, may have short whitish-buff supercilium and subocular crescent, and broad pale buff moustachial stripe bordered by dark brown malar stripe; tail dark brown, finely edged light olive-brown; upperwing dark brown, median and greater coverts edged pale brown and tipped pale buff (forming double wingbar), flight feathers-edged pale olive-brown, more buffish-white on primaries; underparts buffish-white, tinged olive on breast and flanks, and streaked finely darker, belly to undertail-coverts whitish; bare parts much as for male.

Habitat: It is found during breeding  in W Himalayas at 2300–3600 m in lowland to montane moist forests, woodlands and thickets of willows. In non-breeding season occurs at lower levels usually below 1500–2000 m in similar habitat in open areas of foothills, plains, reedbeds and edges of cultivation.

Food Habits: It eats plant and tree seeds, buds, catkins, shoots, leaves, fruit and berries, also nectar; also insects and larvae and other arthropods. The nestlings are fed with pulp of regurgitated seeds and insects. It forages on the ground, in grasses and bushes or low herb vegetation; also perches and forages at all levels in trees when feeding on buds or fruit; hops on ground. It removes outer scales from buds, fruit, cereals or flower heads and eats soft central core; nibbles fresh leaves and conifer needles. It is often at edges of roadside and saltpans, taking salt minerals; also takes mortar from walls and urine-soaked earth from around horse stables. It forages singly, in pairs and in small groups; forms larger post-breeding flocks of several family groups, in non-breeding season also larger flocks and joins mixed-species flocks with other seed-eaters, including other finches, sparrows and buntings.

Breeding Habits: They breed in May- Aug in India. They are monogamous; occasionally polygamous in areas with apparent excess of immature (brown-plumaged) males; pair-bond endures for single season. Young males sometimes co-operative helpers, assisting in feeding of young. They are solitary or loosely colonial. Territory used for courtship and nesting, but most food-gathering done outside), defended by both sexes, mostly by male. The males arrive in breeding area  ahead of females, and pairing follows arrival of latter. The male sings from regular song posts early in breeding season, and may attract female and subsequently move to different area to breed. In display, partners close together on ground, rock or branch, male adopts posture with head held high, crown feathers raised, wings drooped and slightly quivering, and tail partly raised, and slowly circles female, partners may also take turns in circling each other with head-up posture; male also stands in front of female and swings body slowly from side to side while vibrating drooped wings, he also bows towards female and then throws back head and gives rapid burst of song; other courtship includes bill-touching or head-pecking, mate-guarding (while female feeding) and slow butterfly-like flight with stiff wing beats by male, also courtship-feeding by male, usually later in season during incubation and brooding of young. The nest is built by female. The nest is a loose or untidy cup of twigs, plant stems and fibers, grass, flower heads, plant down, moss, lichens and animal hair, placed low down in bush, well hidden in tangle of foliage or against trunk, occasionally in scrub tangle. It lays a clutch 4–6 eggs. The incubation is done by female alone for a period of 11–14 days. The chicks are fed and cared for by both parents. The nestling period is 10–13 days. The young leave nest before able to fly and are fed by parents for 2 weeks after leaving nest.